Don’t bully bank workers, NUBE hits out at RHB’s merger plan

Don’t bully bank workers, NUBE hits out at RHB’s merger plan
FMT Reporters | June 19, 2017

PETALING JAYA: The nation’s largest bank workers’ union has questioned the planned merger between RHB Bank Berhad and AmBank, saying RHB Bank was in breach of an agreement requiring it to consult with the union.

“There is simply no reason to disregard the union, collective agreement and workers. The workers of this country are the main reason for our economic growth and cannot be repaid in this fashion,” said National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) secretary J Solomon.

He said the agreement required RHB to consult with the union, but added that NUBE “had only learnt about the planned merger through media reports”.

“Workers in the banking industry have suffered enough hardship through previous mergers and take-overs. The net result had been the loss of jobs, which also has had an effect on the country’s economy,” said Solomon.

On May 30, RHB and AmBank announced that Bank Negara Malaysia had given them approval to commence discussions for a proposed merger.

It is understood that RHB would be the acquirer in the merger, estimated to be valued at about US$9 billion (RM38.59 billion).

Both banks have a combined headcount of roughly 25,000 employees.

The plan had led to warnings by economists that thousands could lose their jobs, at a time when banks were already downsizing their staff as the industry embraces online banking and focuses their resources on FinTech.

“Even though the economy is improving, it is not at a rate that can generate sufficient employment,” Yeah Kim Leng, professor at Sunway University Business School, told FMT recently.

“There will be job challenges,” he added.

Solomon meanwhile took Bank Negara to task for allowing banks to “bully” non-executive workers.

“Bank Negara should take a proactive stance in organising a meeting between the banks concerned and NUBE so that this matter can be discussed and a resolution arrived at.

“Where the union continues to be disrespected and the workers disregarded, NUBE will be left with no choice but to initiate action for such atrocities against workers to be exposed,” he said.

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